My review of “Jane Was Here” by Sarah Kernochan

Sometimes the biggest pleasures in life come from stepping outside what you know and trying something different. A book like “Jane Was Here” by Sarah Kernochan (@SarahKernochan) isn’t something I might normally pick up to read — I usually like some creature(s) with my paranormal — but man, am I glad I did.

Thrilling and suspenseful, “Jane” has everything, and I mean everything, that I love in a story — and more. Sharply-drawn characters, clear and engaging prose, and an intriguing and beguiling plot with many sub-plots that intertwine and then spin off on their own, only to come crashing back together.

Add to that some real eerie events, told vividly and without breaking the overarching narrative, and you’ve got a story that had me hooked from page 1. At several points I simply couldn’t put my Kindle down without reading one more chapter. In fact, I stopped everything I was doing yesterday afternoon to read the final sixteen chapters: I simply had to know all of the story’s secrets.

The conclusion left me both satisfied and not — but in a good way. While pleased to have all revealed — much of which was beyond my wildest imaginings while progressing through the book — I would gladly have had more of such an intelligent and deeply-drawn story. For a reader, a book like this makes you hungry to find out if the next story you read will be just as good.

“Jane Was Here” opens with a young woman arriving at the town of Graynier, Massachusetts. Graynier was built in the early 1800s around a glass factory, and true to that blue-collar beginning down through the years it hasn’t been the charming New England village written about in so many romance novels.

The young woman will call herself Jane, and her arrival sets into motion a chain of events that will engulf several people who live in or are visiting the town. Jane does not know who she is, but she knows the town, and its inhabitants, hold the answers. Discovering that truth changes everyone.

As always, I prefer not to spoil the details of a book, and “Jane Was Here” has so many layers that trying to write a suitable review without giving anything away is tough. I don’t want to rob future readers of the experience. Those layers are so dense with detail and intrigue, like a blank jigsaw puzzle: you know the pieces fit together, but how? Does this go here? Or there?

I love stories like this.

If you’re looking for a well-written, spooky, intelligent, engrossing paranormal story, I highly recommend “Jane Was Here.” Don’t think this is your type of story? Drop the words “spooky” and “paranormal” from the previous sentence and just realize this book is well-written, intelligent and engrossing — everything you’re looking for, and so much more.

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